Thursday, January 31, 2013

In The Mail Today

mendelssohn_alina_ibragimova.jpgMendelssohn: Violin Concertos, by Alina Ibragimova.

I didn't know he wrote more than one. But I think I like this one in D minor better. And she's certainly cuter than Jascha Heifetz.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Worth Reading

Stuff keeps piling up on my desk.

The Road to Tinkhamtown: Corey Ford, via Random Acts.

Spare a Thought for the Late Abandoners: Derbyshire.

How President Obama Lost His Shirt to John Boehner: Benko.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Idiot Rod Humor

husky_dose_of_sarcasm.jpgOr a husky dose of sarcasm, whatever; via Way Up North.

No, really. When I first heard of the race, back when I was in junior high or thereabouts, I mis-read the name as "idiot rod." Which seemed the perfect description for a vehicle on skids, tied to a string of big hairy dogs, that you have to run behind.

And then dietary guru Stephan Guyenet says you can too feed your dogs potatoes. Pretty obviously he doesn't own any dogs, and if he does he keeps them out doors, downwind, in a area with stiff prevailing breezes.

Yeah, right. Try getting that rig through the DEQ, Stephan.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Yo, Captain!

You can deduct contributions or gifts you gave to organizations that are religious, charitable, educational, scientific, or literary in purpose. You can also deduct what you gave to organizations that work to prevent cruelty to children or animals. Certain whaling captains may be able to deduct expenses paid in 2012 for Native Alaskan subsistence bowhead whale hunting activities.
I gotta get me some of that.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gun Appreciation Day

gun_appreciation_day_2013_thumb.jpgI went to the range today and appreciated my guns. These three I hadn't fired before. The Winchester Model 06 I particularly like. Holds a dozen rounds of .22 LR in the tube and the peep sight is dead on at twenty yards.

I didn't really have any targets and I didn't really care. The main objective was to get familiar with the operation — loading, safety, unloading, recoil, and so on. The double barrel 12 gauge hurts my shoulder but that's the price you pay for authority. The 20 gauge pump is for under the bed. The Winchester I just want to carry with me every minute I'm out of doors.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Quinoa Brings Wealth; Peasants Hardest Hit

quinoa_1.jpgDan Collyns, writing in The Guardian:
Averaging $3,115 (£1,930) per tonne in 2011, quinoa has tripled in price since 2006. Coloured varieties fetch even more. Red royal quinoa sells at about $4,500 a tonne and the black variety can reach $8,000 per tonne. The crop has become a lifeline for the people of Bolivia's Oruro and Potosi regions, among the poorest in what is one of South America's poorest nations.
Joanna Blythman, writing in The Guardian:
But there is an unpalatable truth to face for those of us with a bag of quinoa in the larder. The appetite of countries such as ours for this grain has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it. ... In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken.
Every silver lining has a cloud, I quess.

quinoa_2.jpgPoor old Bolivian woman, she don't know whether to laugh or cry.

What, chicken for dinner? Again?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pen, Paper, and Stamp

Targeting taxpayers for audit is a major factor behind the IRS's push for e-filing. E-filed returns are available for audit several months sooner than paper returns, allowing more time before the three-year statute of limitations expires. The IRS has even boasted that its e-file database is "a rich and fertile field" for selecting audits and has estimated that if its "screeners could be reallocated to performing audits, they could bring an additional $175 million annually."
I always use a spreadsheet to figure my taxes and then fill out paper forms by hand. I use a plain white envelope and hand carry it to the post office. People tell me I'm being paranoid.
Using TurboTax, a 25-year-old woman e-filed a fraudulent 2011 Oregon return reporting wages of $3 million and claiming a $2.1 million refund — and the Oregon Department of Revenue sent her the refund.
Could be I'm just missing an opportunity.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hell Is Other Mice

The failures and dropouts congregated in large groups in the middle of the enclosure, their listless withdrawal occasionally interrupted by spasms and waves of pointless violence. The victims of these random attacks became attackers. Left on their own in nests subject to invasion, nursing females attacked their own young. Procreation slumped, infant abandonment and mortality soared. Lone females retreated to isolated nesting boxes on penthouse levels. Other males, a group Calhoun termed "the beautiful ones," never sought sex and never fought — they just ate, slept, and groomed, wrapped in narcissistic introspection. Elsewhere, cannibalism, pansexualism, and violence became endemic. Mouse society had collapsed.
Via Instapundit a fascinating look at Universe 25, the muscine dystopia built by John B. Calhoun in 1972. Calhoun's original paper is online too.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Back In The USSA

Oleg Atbashian, a former citizen of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, explains the multiple interlocking ironies of Pravda advising Americans to "Never Give Up Your Guns."

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Retirement Plan

grampa_tell_us_dave_granlund.jpgFrom Way Up North — he stole it first.

(Actually, though... for four redheaded grandchildren I'd settle.)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tab Clearing

In no particular order:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Buddeshepherd Says

Barry White just because I figured everyone who has a Hi-Fi and a hot tub should have a Barry White album.
Ahem. I'll just let that pass without comment. No comment at all.

And then later in the post he waxes philosophical:
It is the hallmark of the small town Nouveau-Winesnob to think they are the only clever and sophisticated person in town. It is also the hallmark of most grumpy farmers to assume that anyone not wearing Romeos and a flannel shirt is a communist.

The fact is that in rural Oregon there are plenty of educated and clever sorts, not all of them sip wine, not all are annoying (but some are), but many people have made a conscious decision to not live in the city. They are generally communists but that whole world domination thing seems to be less worrisome these days than it once was.
And that sent me scurrying all over the internet, from Google to Urban Dictionary to Wikipedia and back to Google, trying to figure out what the hell Romeos are. I got me a flannel shirt in my closet somewhere, but don't think I got any Romeos.

I wonder do they sell 'em at the Grange?

I sure don't want anybody thinking I'm a communist.

Update: OregonGuy says getcher anti-commie boots at Gimre's.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Compromise to Win?

They wanted all or nothing and they wanted it all at once. If you don't get it all, some said, don't take anything.

I'd learned while negotiating union contracts that you seldom got everything you asked for. And I agreed with FDR, who said in 1933: "I have no expectations of making a hit every time I come to bat. What I seek is the highest possible batting average."

If you got seventy-five or eighty percent of what you were asking for, I say, you take it and fight for the rest later...
— Ronald Reagan, An American Life, p. 171
Today, I joined my colleagues in the House to protect as many Americans as possible from a tax increase. We also provided certainty by making the lower tax rates permanent.... Despite my concerns with other provisions in the bill, I commend my colleagues for limiting the damage as much as possible.
— Paul Ryan, explaining why he voted for the fiscal cliff deal.

And as I looked over the Details of the fiscal cliff tax deal on Tuesday, I thought the same thing: it's really not so bad. In fact some pundits are going so far as to say that the Republicans might actually have won.

What will sting the most in the near term is the additional 2¢ from every $1.00 they'll take out of our paychecks. But at least that's a shared sacrifice. Everybody, rich or poor, will pay that one (everyone who works, that is). It's the closest thing to a flat tax we're ever going to get.