Friday, October 27, 2006

 

Bloguettes

There's been some drama on campus recently that's just way too raw to blog about, but it's taking most of my mental energy. So some end-of-the-week bloguettes:

- T-shirt seen on campus this week: “It's so cute how you think I'm listening.”

- I decided, in a fit of Virtuous Eco-Guy, to start putting compact fluorescent bulbs in the lamps around the house to save electricity. They 'work,' in the sense that they give off light, but the light makes the room colors look different, and not in a good way. Everything is a sickly yellow. You'd think the bulb makers would have compensated for that. Couldn't they tint the glass, or something?

- The new Tanya Donelly CD is shockingly good. There are moments on it that are so good that I actually feel guilty listening to them, like I'm not worthy. (“Littlewing,” especially.)

- Kudos to New Jersey for taking steps to recognize the basic human dignity of its gay citizens. With Massachusetts already on board, only 48 more states to go!

- I've found some common ground with my cultural-conservative brethren. Having had two scarily close encounters in the last three weeks, I'm now solidly pro-deer-hunting. As it stands, their only natural predators are cars. They spread lyme disease and cause accidents. If it comes down to the deer or me, well, Bambi gets it.

- I'm flirting with the idea of getting Vonage at home. For those who've tried it, how well has it worked?

- With all the technological advances, why can't we get cable channels a la carte yet? I'm happy to pay for Comedy Central for me, Bravo for The Wife, and Noggin for the kids, but I have no desire to pay for Fox News or Telemundo or QVC.

- It's been disheartening to watch the Democrats completely drop the ball on the new David Kuo book. Bush White House insider reveals that the Republican leadership openly refers to the religious right as yahoos. Dems respond by yawning? Rub that sucker raw! Imagine the ads: “They've killed our sons in a war even they don't believe in. They've protected predatory pedophiles among their own ranks. And they think you're an idiot. Hit back.”

- Speaking of Dems, I foresee precisely two possibilities for 2008: Barack Obama, or crushing defeat. An Obama-Mark Warner ticket, or something close to it, would be tough to beat.

- Charles McGuire, of UnitedHealth, just retired with a 1.6 billion dollar package. (That's on top of his hundreds-of-millions annual salary.) Just for fun, I crunched the numbers. Rounding up the college's budget significantly, and assuming zero compound interest, his retirement package alone could fund the entire college for 32 years. This for the leader of a health care company that cut benefits to its own workers, its subscribers, its doctors, and its hospitals. It cured no one, researched nothing, and provided no care. Those who say that socialized medicine is inefficient have some pretty significant inefficiencies to explain away themselves.

- Sean Casey's between-pitch ritual at the plate reminds me of Mike Hargrove, or even, in a different way, Luis Tiant. It's entertaining, but I don't know how he can focus with all those steps.

- TB and TG are already committed to wearing their costumes three times this weekend, for various occasions. Whether the costumes will make it to Halloween intact is anybody's guess.

Comments:
Speaking of deer: we've always used deer whistles (they have them on Amazon), and they do seem to work. Better than elephant whistles, for example.

We had some bad compact fluorescents too, but we bought more expensive ones and they were better. The globe ones are pretty decent too; at least, I didn't notice any yellow glow!
 
Apparently the biggest cost component of our cable and/or satellite bills is sports programming so why not change it to a la carte - just like they already have with components within the sports realm. But, that might be un-American . . .

Also on the deer, in areas where they are overpopulated, many are starving in addition to carrying diseases. It's all about management and controlled hunting can do that. There is a food chain and we're just one link in that chain.
 
Search for better bulbs! It is worth it to find ones that are coated, as jf said the globe ones are better than the twisty ones (we put those in the basement). Ikea has good ones, but so should any hardware store.

I've been watching the rise of Obama with great interest. I think it apart from the issues it says something very positive when the two front runners aren't ex-military white guys.
 
Sounds like you need full spectrum bulbs. http://www.topbulb.com/find/full_spectrum.asp_Q_REF_E_5015

Barak Obama has zero chance of winning an election for two "silly" reasons. His name rhymes with Osama. He is black.

He will never take a single southern state for both of the reasons stated above. (Nothing would please me more than to be wrong about this but bigotry happens.) Denzel Washington has a better chance.
 
I can't believe you don't enjoy Telemundo.
 
Yeah, re: the bulbs. I wrote a post about fluourescent bulbs a while ago with a suggestion for a brand (from Home Depot) that gives off a very incandescent-esque light. You might want to try those.

I have a sticker of that t-shirt that you saw. It's Happy Bunny. You may like other slogans from Happy Bunny too.
 
Back when she lived in the Ass End of Nowhere, Mom got deer whistles for her car. She said they worked. They're one-inch cylinders you stick to your front bumper. When you drive, the wind pushing through them creates a hypersonic whistle that warns deer and is inaudible to humans.

Deer hunting doesn't bother me too much. Left alone, the deer population is kept in check by predators. We went and got rid of the predators. Therefore, it makes a kind of sense to step in and fill the gap. As long as hunters don't overdo it, hunting is fine. From what little I know about it, overhunting hasn't been a problem for ages. (If I'm wrong, somebody please correct me.)

McCain has been pushing for a la carte cable for a while now. Makes a lot of sense.

My favorite t-shirt reads "This Is What Cool Looks Like."

The talking-head reaction to the Kuo book has been hilarious. I'll give you a hint: they describe him as something that rhymes with "virty draitor." Seriously, do the talking heads have any template in their heads other than that one?
 
"They've killed our sons..." Wow. You should write campaign ads for the Dems! That's the best line I've seen so far.
 
"Kudos to New Jersey for taking steps to recognize the basic human dignity of its gay citizens. With Massachusetts already on board, only 48 more states to go!"

47 - the NJ decision is very similar to the VT decision in 1999.
 
You can definitely find better bulbs! Try this new bulb search tool by Environmental Defense to get a good recommendation.
 
- Hate fluorescents. But I use them anyway.
- With you on the deer. Got hit by FOUR jumping a guard rail. Took out 2 of my van windows and terrorized my family.
- Vonage? I love it. Cheap, feature rich, and fairly reliable. Get an UPS for when the power goes out, just for the router. Had a long time to switch my number over, but friends got theirs in 48 hours, so I appear to be odd man out (at 7 months!)
- Cable will never be alacarte, although I am sure it's a 2 click job at the cable desk.
- Obama can't win. I commented on peetfointed that he is too young and, unfortunately, too black for a win in 2008. 2012 will be his year. If he runs now, he'll never win in 2012.(He'll get my vote evry time, though)
 
Yeah, cable will *never* be a la carte, because that's how they make their money.
Deer are so cute! But we take up so much of their space, they become so lethal!
 
Obama can't win. ... 2012 will be his year. If he runs now, he'll never win in 2012.

Why? Lots of presidents only won after unsuccessfully seeking their party's nomination in earlier cycles. Reagan also ran in '68 and '76, Bush I in '80, and Gore ran in 88'. (There's a fair gap in years between the first runs for Bush I and Gore and their eventual nominations, but those intervals were largely filled with their being VP and all.)
 
The "Obama can't win" refrain is pissing me off. Why the hell not? What the hell is "too black" and why the hell won't people get off of their asses and work to make it possible for him to win? What is up with this doom-and-gloom, self-fulfilling prophecy stuff? Hilary can't win because she's a woman, Obama can't win because he's "too black" - well let's just give up on creating change and continue to be sexist and racist and defeatist shall we?! Because it has served us well so far.

Come on people! I'm not usually one for rah rah positivity but this kind of stuff is just depressing. And, come to think of it, unbloodyAmerican. Where's the can-do spirit? Where's the example to the rest of the world? If an African American or a woman can't be elected to lead the US where does that leave our shining light? Off, that's where it leaves it, regardless of what kind of lightbulb is in the lamp.

Sorry for swearing on your blog DeanDad, hope it doesn't disturb you too much.
 
Doesn't Connecticut (as well as Vermont, as your earlier poster noted) also have civil unions?
 
Colst -- you're right. I apologize to the good people of Vermont. 3 down, 47 to go! I don't know the rule in Connecticut.

I'm wary of candidate profiling. John Kerry was a tall white guy with 3 purple hearts, and he got pilloried. I say we go with the best we've got, demographics be damned, and in my view, Obama is the best we've got. I could be wrong on that, of course, but that's my educated guess at this point.

And yes, there is a history of candidates losing the first time, then coming back successfully. Reagan is the clearest case, but also Nixon, Bush 1, and (arguably) Gore. On the other side, there's Henry Clay, Adlai Stevenson, and even Bob Dole (if you count '76).

I'll check out the references on the lightbulbs. Thanks!
 
Conservative Charles Krauthammer agrees with you that Obama is electable, and that he should run in 08 even if he loses. Uses the Reagan analogy. The article is in the Washington Post, I think, but I don't have a link.

I really doubt that Obama "too black" to win, but he might be "too left wing"--not enough track record to know yet. What he brings to the table that too many politicians don't is a sense of genuine optimism about America. It's very compelling, and it will carry him far.

The deer population is pretty badly out of hand--I've had 3 unfortunate encounters so far, and I'm not counting the Lyme disease. The government is going to have to take a much more active role in reducing the herds. At a minimum, hunting season should be expanded and per hunter limits on kills should be enlarged or eliminated.
 
Tanya Donnely?? Is that the chick from "Belly"? I think I still have that CD somewhere from an ill-advised bout of "15 CD's for a penny" when I was in grad school.
 
I've actually been disappointed by Senator Obama; based on his voting record so far, he's kinda been all hat and no cattle.

That said, I'd love to live in a country where an African-American man can be elected President, and I'll continue doing my part to work toward that day. I don't believe that day is now. It isn't just the South that has a racist core, it's also the urban areas of the North and the wide stretches of the West.

John Edwards is my current pick for the nom, and I'm pretty sure he both can win and would do a good job.
 
Yeah, from Belly, and from Throwing Muses before that. (She's Kristin Hersh's stepsister.) She had a good run in the mid-1990's, a couple of soporific solo albums in the early 2000's, and a return to form with "This Hungry Life."

Yes, she's an acquired taste.
 
CT does indeed have civil unions. (They passed the law 3 days after my now-wife and I made reservations for our wedding and civil union in VT. My family is all in CT, so it was kind of funny.) CT and VT acknolwedge civil unions performed in the other state.
 
I just looked it up: civil unions for same-sex couples became legal in Connecticut last October--via a bill passed in the state senate and signed by the governor; Connecticut is actually the only state to have introduced civil unions voluntarily, without a court order. Link to a Boston Globe article here.

I remember hearing about this when it was under debate in 2004, but it really seems to have slid in under the national radar.

But at any rate: 4 down, 46 to go.
 
To understand why fluorescents are yellow/blue and incandescents redish you have to understand how they work. There is a little bit of mercury in the bulb which is excited by the electric discharge that runs through the bulb. The mercury emits far into the ultaviolet and excites the phosphor (the white powdery coating). There are also a bunch of blue and green emissions from the mercury that give fluorescents that blue/green tinge unless you make the phosphor very thick.

Incandescents are what you get when you heat something up. Heat it a bit and you get red (like the hot plate on an electric stove). Heat it a bit more and you get reddish white. To match sunlight you would have to heat the filament to ~6000 C. Good luck. Incandescents will always be red.

White LEDs are cute. They are blue LEDs with a phosphor inside the bulb. Like a fluorescent light the LED excites the phosphor which emits white light.
 
For those of you who don't enjoy deer, something from YouTube... Bambi meets Godzilla
 
I decided, in a fit of Virtuous Eco-Guy, to start putting compact fluorescent bulbs in the lamps around the house to save electricity. They 'work,' in the sense that they give off light, but the light makes the room colors look different, and not in a good way. Everything is a sickly yellow. You'd think the bulb makers would have compensated for that. Couldn't they tint the glass, or something?

Try "daylight" fluorescents. They have a colour temperature of 3500, not the 6500 of ISO daylight, but they look a lot nicer than the other type.
 
Those who say that socialized medicine is inefficient have some pretty significant inefficiencies to explain away themselves.

If you include total health care costs, including administering the insurance plans and profits for the insurance companies, Canadian socialized medicine is cheaper than American private medicine.
 
Vonage is worth it, especially when it comes to long distance.
 
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