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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Your Aardvark is suffering from the predations of time, and he is learning to deal. The predilection of oldsters - and no, he does not think of himself in those terms - to long for "the good old days" is beginning to be understandable. Things that evoke fond memories are becoming more important. Old-school TV shows like Supercar are neat, and hearken back to more pleasant days, at least in memory; remembrance casts the past in a roseate glow that causes him to recall even the Cuban Missile Crisis with wistfulness.

Ahhhhh, the Cold War...good times.

Scent is a powerfully evocative agent. The Aardvark now eschews the sprays and scents proffered by the corporate media machines, body sprays that cause the wearer to smell like Bargain Night at a joy house*: Axe, Tag, and other such brands easily pronounced by the public schooled. He finds himself drawn to the classics: bay rum, Old Spice (that despite Hannibal Lecter's disparaging comments), and a new-old cologne called "Cigar" which the Aardvark heartily recommends, even though it is French, as it conjures tweeds and fragrant smoke, and Substance.

Your Aardvark still cannot bring himself to Moisturise...much.

He is currently working on a roadside ad campaign for a local deli (yes, a deli , one with meats and cheeses sliced whilst you wait, which sells a Philly Cheese Steak as good as one can find south of PA. NOT the self-styled gas-station sandwich counters that sell a baloney, mayo and American cheese on white and call themselves a "deli". Oy.

The signs will be done in the spirit of the venerable Burma Shave campaign. Pics to come.

* A line graciously lifted from Keith Laumer's Retief story "The Brass God". The Aardvark read this in the '70s, and found the phrasing to be the most evocative description of loathsome overdone perfumery ever penned.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Here is an excerpt of an email I received from a convention that we have a good history with:

Is there an option to have shirts that are made of organic cotton or hemp? If so, how much more do they run?

Also, we are asking everyone involved with K**********n on any level to please provide us with information on what resources were used. We are trying to track everything as best as we can, so that afterwards we may offset the impact of our convention with the purchase of carbon credits. No other convention (that we know of) is following any environmental standard, and as responsible members of our community, being carbon neutral (or carbon negative) is what we're striving for. Hopefully through our actions, we can influence other conventions in our area to follow suit.

I am shocked at how this Ponzi-esque scheme of environmental indulgences designed to increase the Green in Al Gore and cronies' portfolios has impinged on my life and business. I may well have lost this convention with my response, but one must have principles:

As to resource information, it is akin to asking a vendor "How much didja make??"
I was an environmental studies major in college, and it really pains me to see such effort and money going to no effect. (Heck, we still compost!) Carbon credits are the Green equivalent of buying indulgences to get out of purgatory. I do not wish to line Al Gore's pockets, as many of the carbon credit "brokerages" are firmly linked to his finances. We use environmentally friendly chemicals where we can - if they do the job- and we are even coming out with a line of organic tees printed with water-based inks under our "Lifetees" banner (We could go water-based for your printing if you wish.). We strive to be good stewards of our planet....I have danced to several tunes, and followed many fads in my life. This is not one of them.

Please, please, someone explain in words of three syllables or less how paying protection money to Carbon Credit companies offers ANY benefit to the environment. It seems rather to be a semi-private-sector tax self-imposed to modify behavior, which may be the sole point, and I've sussed it out.

I am unconvinced that the current eco-movement has a clue, or the ability to keep more than one factor in mind at a time. Carbon is VITAL to life. We are carbon-based. Plants take evil carbon dioxide IN, and release oxygen into the atmosphere, which we carbon-based lifeforms breathe, exhaling CO2 for the plants, and the Wonder of Life goes on. The plants LIKE carbon dioxide. Vegetarians should like it, too, 'cos their zucchinis, and marrows, and alfalfa sprouts wouldn't BE without it.

Humankind is natural. We are a part of the environment, as is oil, as is uranium. All the environmental eeeeeee-vils come from the environment. People, another part of the environment, process the mineral wealth of our planet. We have made life on earth quite comfortable, at least in the West where we have bothered to learn the processes, rather than worship the rocks. Interesting, those in the West who seem inclined to worship the rocks would rather we return to a pre-industrial life. I do not personally care to poop in a chamber pot, or in a hole in the woods. (Ooooh, reductio ad absurdum!)

Really, though, I am loath to reveal my resource usage to anyone. It's hard enough to get enough ground bald eagle feathers for that perfect shade of ink...The shell of the spotted turtle is the perfect scoop for getting ink out of the buckets, and the compound eyes of the Hine's Emerald Dragonfly provide the perfect iridescence for some of our glitter inks. (Wow. If all this gets out, what would people think of me? )

Thursday, August 28, 2008

If it isn't the real thing, I'm sunk.

Last week, as you recall, Will, Penny and Dr. Smith...

As most of my reader know, I'm in a medical research study for a BPH treatment. It consists of periodic injections to reduce testosterone production. I was apprised of certain possible side-effects. The obvious one is not a problem, thankfully. My libido is fine, thank you very much. However, I have some other less-than-fun things going on in my life. I have gained no weight, but my extant avoirdupois seems to be shifting to my abdomen. No six-pack, here...think of a keg. Meh.
The Aardvark seems not as sexiful as he once was.

That is really not that bad, comparatively speaking. My real problem is anger. Now, I have allus had a temper, but with zero being Nirvana, and nine being thermonuclear devastation, with kicking the dog and then dropping cinderblocks on it for good measure, well, I am currently going from 0 to 8 in five seconds. This is not good. Neither is it fun, and I had been worrying over it. Couple of days ago, whilst in a lucid and calm moment, I was discussing with The Dread Dormomoo and Loen my concern, when it hit me: "I'm in a medical trial!!". So-o-o-o-o-o...if I AM in fact receiving the real drug, and not a placebo, it may well explain the situation, and we can all handle it a bit better, with expectation of its being temporary.

If otherwise I am receiving coloured saline, I am having an Unpleasantness, one which needs to be dealt with. That or I am an Unpleasantness, the thought of which really makes me angry. Very, very....

Fortunately, I don't have a dog. Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cunning Dove has knocked loose a thought.


I am ceaselessly amazed at the profusion of...stuff... that the Earth provides. Look at how many CARS have been made in 100+ years. Look at all the junk cars there are, all made of material mined from the Earth. Go to your local supermarket, and stand in awe at the magnitude of the produce there, and then realise that this is multiplied many times in your town, and then in all the cities and towns in your state, throughout all the states and territories of the Union, and then throughout all the countries on our little ball of mud and iron. All that food, cajoled, coaxed, even wrested from the dirt. Go to a superstore, look at all the things, in ceaseless proliferation. Think of all the other superstores, emporia, mom-and-pop stores, and tiendas filled with things, all made of earth-stuff.

Despite the whinging of the eco-left, the jaundiced Greens, we are not running out. Plenty of coal, iron ore, aluminum, molybdenum (yes, even molybdenum, Dr. Ehrlich.), even petroleum. Even if oil is running out -which I question- we have huge quantities of alternatives which we can convert to over time.

Unless you look at the night-lights of Earth from space, you can scarcely tell from orbit that man has made a dent on the planet. We six billion are so small, and our world is so comparatively huge.

You could fit 9141 people per square mile in the space of Alaska, the entire six billion population of the planet. NYC is far more densely populated. (I once offered this datum to a "WE are overpopulated...unsustainable...UNSUSTAINABLE!!!" person, who then asked "But why would they want to live like that?". Clearly off her meds.

Our planet is barely populated. Certain areas are very populated. The map above (2006) shows the majority of Earth as lavender,,,or is it whitish-purple? That color signifies a population density of 0-50 persons / sq. km. Yes, much of the land is in the unpopular weather regions, but the land area is there, and could be used in a pinch. Of course, one would not wish to devote arable land to high-rises. Land use planning is an important discipline.

The main issue is Earth's provenance. We are well supplied with food and materials. The starving are invariably enjoying the benevolence of corrupt regimes, where most of the West's charitable giving winds up in the warehouses of despots, and the people are not free to pursue happiness, or Jeffersonian profit.

The problem is not the Earth's. As the psalmist wrote:

Psa 24:1 "The earth is Jehovah's, and the fullness of it; the world, and those who live in it."

That's my energy and resource platform.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

During the long drive to Animazement, the crew and I stopped at a gas station, and Link (he cosplays the Zelda vidya game character) picked up a couple of the now ever-present
May-hee-CAN snacks. One was SPONCH. The Urban Dictionary defines it thusly:

A shortbread cookie topped with four marshmallows, two pink and two white, with shredded coconut, and often found with a squirt of jelly on top, and, occasionally, sprinkles. Sponch originates in Mexico and is manufactured by Marinela Bakeries.

See photo above.

The other was a chocolate sandwich cookie called "LORS".I can find nothing online about it; not even the bakery site owns up to it. The blue packaging was a manic wild man or caveman as its decoration.

The packages were not touched on the drive.

Early Sunday morning, there was a power failure in the area, so the hotel fire alarm dutifully went off, and the guests all streamed out of the facility be-jammied and grumpy.
Once it was determined that there was no conflagration, we hiked up eight flights to our room, and lay back down. Link remembered the snacks and hauled them out. First he opened the SPONCH!. He offered it to me, and I went to take a bite, until the...aroma...hit my nose. It had a the redolence of industrial waste. I could not even attempt to eat it. Next he offered up the LORS. I thought "It's a chocolate sandwich cookie. How bad could it be?".

Never ask that question.

It tasted...brown. That is pretty much it. Oh, and sweet. Brown and sweet. It was then I had the epiphany.

The Mexican illegal - er undocumented - migrants are NOT really coming for better jobs. They are running from their snack foods.

Not sure I can blame them.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

At last, someone besides Fred Allen gets me.

Your Slogan Should Be

Weatherly. Uncommonly Made, Uncommonly Good.

The Slogan Generator

Of course, I REALLY like this one:

Your Slogan Should Be

Weatherly. What's the Worst that Can Happen?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Between Obama and McCain, I think we can beat whatever the world can throw at us.

Scant weeks since Le Nègre Magique prescribed the cure for our gasoline ills, and McCain & Co. filled the prescription, we see petrol prices plummeting. "Properly inflate your tyres." Obama intoned. McCain and crew then gave out gauges to insure that it would be done. And what did the Aardvark enjoy on his trip to Sunny Florida? Gasoil approaching $3.50 a gallon. Paradise on Earth. I can see the Millenial Dawn tracts as we speak. "Millions Now Living Will Never Pay $5-a-Gallon for Gas ".

Brokeback Church's Rick Warren interviewed both Obama and McCain. Ebony and Ivory. It accomplished precisely what was intended, and at the end of McCain's more substantive interview, I found myself nodding and saying "Y;know, I could live with this...."

The emergent church births emergent socialism. "But Warren isn't Emerging...!!!". When you lie with dogs you are bound to get fleas. (He wrote a foreword for a book written by Dan Kimball titled The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations - Kimball is a leader in the movement).


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Contrary to the popular opinion that your Aardvark is a tool of Big Oil and Our Friend Mr. Atom, I was an environmental studies major in college. I was also a waiter, though I was not in the theater department. Being loquacious, I happened to mention to a couple of ladies from Vermont who were enjoying our prandial offerings the fact of my major, and my interest in alternative energy and sustainable organic gardening. They acquainted me with the Grandpa's Knob project in the early forties.

The first large-scale wind turbine built in the United States was conceived by Palmer Cosslett Putnam in 1934; he completed it in 1941. The machine was huge. The tower was 36.6 yards (33.5 meters) high, and its two stainless steel blades had diameters of 58 yards (53 meters). Putnam's wind turbine could produce 1,250 kilowatts of electricity, or enough to meet the needs of a small town. It was, however, abandoned in 1945 because of mechanical failure. (Answers.com)

On a hilltop in Rutland, Vermont, "Grandpa's Knob" wind generator supplied power to the local grid for several months during World War II. The Smith- Putnam machine was rated at 1.25 megawatts in winds of about 30 miles per hour. It was removed from service in 1945.(www.eia.doe.gov)

Wikpedia continues:

In 1941 the world's first megawatt-size wind turbine was connected to the local electrical distribution system on Grandpa's Knob in Castleton, Vermont, USA. It was designed by Palmer Cosslett Putnam and manufacturered by the S. Morgan Smith Company. This 1.25 MW Smith-Putnam turbine operated for 1100 hours before a blade failed at a known weak point, which had not been reinforced due to war-time material shortages

Not a bad go for 67 years ago. While I do not relegate wind power to cloud-cuckoo-land, I recognise that it is only a facet of the Answer to our energy needs. Do we need wind power? Yes. Do we need nuclear power? Yes. Coal, fusion, solar? Yes, yes, and yes.

We need maser power satellites, too. AND we need oil. Our current civilisation is built upon oil technology, and it is that industrial base which will engineer the next technological revolution. To generalise, politicians operate in the shade of half-truths, and out-and-out lies.They parrot special interest lines to divide the rest of us, following the most important rule: Let's you and him fight. Get 'em out of the way. Let the venture capital crowd do what they do best, let the energy biggies do what they do best. Your lights, TVs and computers run with nary a flicker, and your espresso machines do not sputter out at need. This is where we are. To continue this happy circumstance, we MUST drill for more oil, looking to the future. The issue is not whether it will lower gas prices today. That is a herring of the red persuasion. The point is that in the coming decades, will we be able to continue our current level of technology, while at the same time developing the power tech of the future?

To borrow from a comment I made over at PL's: let's not saddle our children with the opportunity to live as a developing nation. We need a robust industrial base to produce the next generation of energy sources. That alone is reason to increase domestic production now, so we CAN produce the sci-fi technology needed tomorrow.

C'mon, it's the 21st Century. I'm still waiting on my rocket pack, not to mention my Li'l Atom Home Reactor.

I feel so cheated.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Well, Washington has warned Israel not to attack Iran, proof yet more that the US has no clue about national sovereignty.

Iran has every right to build nuclear anything within its borders. Israel has every right to pursue its national agenda. The Duchy of Grand Fenwick can build pinot-derived Q-bombs if they so choose. The US has every right and responsibility to shut its collective gob and tend to its own business.Just because our leadership is willing to have our borders invaded, and our border agents held at gunpoint on our side of the border by May-hee-can soldiers does not mean that we have any imperative, moral or otherwise, to be the world's Mary Worth.

Maybe you should consider that thought come November.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

With their new slogan, "Live Brightly", will SunChips become the preferred snack of the militant atheists?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

It has been an insane summer here in Goat Bog. A bit of surgery has the Dread Dormomoo out of commission for three more weeks (not bed-ridden, but movin' mighty slow - her recovery is going well, it just takes time). We guys are taking turns at chores and household maintenance, and have discovered that we can't keep up with what the D.D. did at a regular pace. We all feel like slugs.

We have two crews out at conventions this weekend: ConnectiCon and MechaCon.
Those of us at home, Loen, Zoomerdog and I are prepping for Otakon, the huge anime-fest in Baltimore next weekend. The Confusticated One and Riatsila will be back Monday to help.
THEN, the following weekend, Riat and I will head to Orlando for AFO, one of our favorites, even though it is in Florida, in mid-August, when you need SCUBA gear to breath because of the humidity. But it IS at the Wyndham....

All this is to give reason for my conspicuous absence here. Sitting down to blog becomes a luxury. I do want to continue for the sake of my many reader.

One thing that troubles me is the practice of singing hymns about the Bible. Songs like "Holy Book Divine", and "Give Me the Bible" seem to cross a line into bibliolatry. Singing songs about the Word of God is one thing. Singing a hymn to a book is a bit out there. Just a thing with me.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Y'know, I think it's less about the message, and more about just holding the thing together.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Has anyone thought about how breathtakingly fast the US (and Europe) have moved onto an environmental war footing? Spain has moved into draconic mode by lowering speed limits, and limiting air conditioning settings. Some of our esteemed leaders are suggesting same.

Obama claims that we can do away with the need for new oil drilling by getting tune-ups and properly inflating our tyres.

If I make 100K per year, and save ten cents of each dollar, I'll never have to work again!

Point: the public policy eco-movement is falling into place suspiciously quickly. Of course "they" have known that we would get to this point of oil need, with no new drilling or refining capacity. The "crisis" has appeared, and the reaction by Our Leaders appears kneejerk and cobbled-together, but I wonder....

Just waiting for another shoe to drop.