Monday, July 28, 2008


Not sure of the validity, but it sure makes for interesting conversation:

A 2006 study found that the average American walks about 900 miles a year.

Another study found that Americans drink an average of 22 gallons of beer a year.

That means, on average, Americans get about 41 miles per gallon.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Randy Pausch: RIP

Carnegie-Mellon University professor Randy Pausch has ended his battle with pancreatic cancer. In his now famous "final lecture" to students last year, he promoted a very uplifting philosophy. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette offers the story of this remarkable individual's life. The wonderfully talented PittGirl offers perspective as well.

Check out his lecture, Achieving Your Childhood Dreams:

The tissues are on the table.

Monday, July 14, 2008

That New Yorker cover

There's been much written about the kerfuffle over the cover art of this week's New Yorker magazine. Among the best is this from the Libertarian Lawyer, E.M. Zanotti, a/k/a The American Princess. Here's an excerpt:

Obama, who is pretentious enough for ten subscriptions to the New Yorker, seems incredibly desperate to condemn the magazine, though. No one reads it. I guarantee no one outside of Manhattan, most major cities and other regions already thoroughly converted to Obamamania will ever purchase it, and a week from now the New Yorker will be back to putting cubist renderings of national landmarks on its cover. So why care so much? Why shoot a publication willing to lick Obama's loafers until they shine right in the knee?

Although it is the MSM that has placed BO on the messianic pedestal, they will be unable to resist the temptation to pull him back down, because they can. This is going to be an election campaign to remember.

Monday morning funny

You feel shameful laughing at this, and yet you must laugh at the latest from the funniest Pittsburgh area blogger not named PittGirl.

An internal memo from Klein to high ranking CNN executives calls for the network to withhold iconic talk show host Larry King's medication in an attempt "to create a martyr that 'The Most Trusted Name in News' can call its own."

Read the entire post and take some time to browse through the site. No sacred cows to be found at Carbolicsmokeball.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

On Tony Snow, Adam Frey, Randy Pausch, and John Challis

The death of Tony Snow this weekend was not unexpected, nor is the outpouring of love and admiration for this very special role model.

I place Tony Snow with a group of brave Americans from whom we have much to learn.

College wrestler Adam Frey has maintained a fascinating outlook on life in his blog as he continues his battle with some stubborn chemo-resistant tumors.

“I guess all there is to do is go there and kick it in the ass. I am sure God has a reason for this, and I trust him fully. Of course, I hope no offense is taken upstairs when I say I do not really want to go through it…again. Life I think is going through most things you do not want to do in life and only a few you do. I am learning that really fast.”

There’s Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch, whose continued survival is something of a miracle, yet he sees beyond all that.

And most inspiring because such wisdom is not usually thought to reside inside the body of an 18-year-old, is that shared by John Challis, who has been making the rounds of baseball, football, hockey, and other sports venues, bringing tears to tough guy athletes and news media critters alike. Quotes like this one in a recent Pittsburgh Post Gazette article, “A Beaver County church had planned a fundraiser, but John and his family asked the church instead to conduct the event and give the money to a fifth-grade boy in Beaver County who has a brain tumor.

"His family can use it more than we can," John said. "That's just common sense. Someone does something good for you, then you help someone else."

ESPN produced this SportsCenter feature on John:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Parlez vous en fran├žais, “I can say WTF I want”

BO [please genuflect at His name] continues his quest to devalue the English language. This from Marketwatch:

At a town hall meeting in Georgia this morning, presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama told an audience that, "you need to make sure that your child can speak Spanish." Speaking in Powder Springs, Ga., the Illinois Senator said that the nation's chief priority should not be for immigrants to learn English, but for American children to learn Spanish.

Just yesterday he chided Americans traveling abroad for making use of the fact that English is the most-spoken language on the planet and is the de facto common language of international commerce.

Okay Senator BO, tell me, how do you say in Spanish, “Die in a fire you MFing piss poor excuse for a community organizer?”

Just asking.

For a more thoughtful perspective, Dr. Melissa has just what your brain needs.

How I spent the July 4th holiday

It's been rather busy here in the land of the MainyYak.
My town has just completed a nearly month-long Centennial celebration that concluded last Sunday (7/6/08) with a banquet for 400 people (that's over half the town's population.)
About three weeks ago the young lady in charge of organizing the banquet called me and called in a marker from about ten year ago. Back in those heady final years of the 20th Century when we were still anticipating the opportunity to "party like it's 1999" Franki extracted from me the promise that I would help her produce a video on the town's history when the centennial rolled around in 2008. Long story short, she was in a panic, and not just with the video project. It seems nobody had a clue about how to put together the speaking portion of the banquet.
And so, I got to emcee the event, arrange the program to accommodate all the planned speakers (and fit in a last minute addition,) and produce the historical video. I managed to finish the video in time, and if you are so incline, can check it out.

The last minute speaker is a guy named Frank Grata. He has moved to Las Vegas where he's seeking his fortune as a comic; specifically a "tribute act." The dude looks more like Rodney Dangerfield than Rodney himself. And he gets even less respect. He reports that one time when he brought a hooker to his room and he dropped his pants, she dropped her price. Check him out at

Friday, July 4, 2008

A little light reading

This document, laboriously drafted by a committee, should be read and reread. We owe it to the Founders, to ourselves, and to all who will come.


The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Post removed

Although this post generated a huge increase of hits to this humble blog, it's too much of an "inside joke" to remain live. It has been archived. Thanks for the visits and for your kind words.
We now return to our regularly scheduled ravings....