Friday, June 27, 2008

What does it mean to be loyal to ones country?

In recent years there has been a lot of anger, on both sides of the argument, regarding the current political administration. To the side that says to not support the administration is disloyal and un-American, I invite you to read this excerpt from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, by the very American Mark Twain;

You see my kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its office-holders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death. To be loyal to rags, to shout for rags, to worship rags, to die for rags--that is a loyalty of unreason, it is pure animal; it belongs to monarchy, was invented by monarchy; let monarchy keep it. I was from Connecticut, whose Constitution declares "that all political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their benefit; and that they have at all times an undeniable and indefeasible right to alter their form of government in such a manner as they may think expedient."

Written in 1889 and the sentiments are true today as they were then and should not be forgotten.

Our current clothes don't fit right and we need to change them.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Being more healthy

No I'm not working out, though I probably could use that too. Baby steps!

I've recently cut or reduced some bad things from my life.

  1. Caffeine. I must admit that this is something I yo-yo on a bit. I love the punch, but I don't like getting headaches when I don't get my fix. Of course there is a Mountain Dew in front of me now, but I'm still cutting way back. One caffeinated beverage per day. I know some geeks wear their caffeine addiction like a merit badge but I'd rather be healthier.
  2. Corn Syrup. Nasty stuff. I hate how it ruins a perfectly good soda and pretty much makes anything sweetened by it into a sticky mess that upsets my stomach. I cannot even eat pancakes with artificial maple syrup, because it's mostly just corn syrup. After about one pancake I'm ready to barf.

    This one will be difficult, not because I'm an addict but because it's everywhere! On the positive side it'll just encourage me to eat even less prepackaged foods and thus be healthier!
  3. TV. This is the big baddie for me. The TV screen is like a big magnet that pulls all thought from my head and leaves me a glassy eyed zombie. Bottom-line, I am totally an addict. A TV show now and again for entertainment is perfectly OK. The problem is that I'd watch even when there was nothing worth watching. Watching when I should be doing many other things, like and especially spending time with my wife.

    I'm not cold-turkey with TV but it's only been one show in four days. My wife and I enjoy watching Dr Who and it was recorded and it was her idea and I turned the TV off as soon as it was over. Good start, but too early to start claiming victory. Though I have to admit that it feels good.

    I've gotten a bunch more work done around the house and learned how to play Rummy.
I'm not going all hippy or anything but there is definitely something to be said for living a bit more 'old-fashioned'. We pretty much cook every meal, we have a vegetable garden, we are reading and playing board games more, going for walks and spending time playing with the cats. Nothing techy or nerdy (well maybe the reading, currently William Gibson and Mark Twain) but it feels satisfying. And really that is very important to your health.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

If you think you are saving money using Ethanol...

Click image to view larger version

This story says it all. I don't have a problem with Ethanol, though I think corn-based ethanol is NOT the way to go and we need to spend money on switch grass and algae based ethanol production. This could be pretty damming for Ethanol though. Everyone is trying to squeeze as many pennies from their dollar as possible and the 'green' aspect isn't going to change things.

Bottom line is that if you are buying Ethanol to save money, you're not saving. If you are buying it to save the planet, well you really are not helping any but go ahead if it makes you feel better. Don't believe me? Check this chart of ethanol production and efficiency.